Norway’s strangest laws

Stortingsbygningen jubileum 9. mai 2016

STORTINGET: The most important government building in Norway is the parliament building, Stortinget. PHOTO: Morten Brakestad/Stortinget

And none of them involved Norway's strange alcohol laws.

Even though Norway is one of the most well-educated countries in the world, people wonder what made them so sure about their own strangeness. Part of the explanation lies deep within their law system. Here is a list of the strangest things Norwegians are obligated (or obligate themselves) to do. Do not worry, the ultimate cliché of alcohol laws will, for once, be overlooked.

The most peculiar ones

The strangest law is definitely the one that prohibits people from dying. In a small village on Svalbard (Longyearbyen) dying has been illegal since the 1950s because bodies do not decompose through the coldness of permafrost. This resulted in a full graveyard. Nowadays if people approach their death, they will be flown to the mainland.

Another one is the secret love Norway has for the European Union. They have turned down a membership twice, yet implemented more EU directions than any other EU state.

Apparently the Norwegian government is not only afraid of radioactive meat but also for the ending of the world as we know it.

Surviving precautions

To survive properly in Norway and in its weather, the government has set some ground rules to protect their people. First of all, there was a law that obligated every Norwegian to organize a plunder and rape vacation every 5 years. Luckily for Norway’s neighboring countries, this law is not practiced anymore.

Secondly, every reindeer which is bred for meat consumption has to be tested for radioactivity as a remaining precaution from the Chernobyl explosion. If the radioactivity level in the meat is too high, which was the case for some in 2014, the reindeer will be released into the wild and live a happy radioactive life there.

Apparently they are not only afraid of radioactive meat but also of the ending of the world as we know it. The Norwegian government has invested a lot of money to build a doomsday vault on Svalbard. This vault preserves plants and seeds from all over the world. Thus when you are the lucky sole survivor when the world has ended, you know where you have to go.

The sixth richest country in the world

Norway has the sixth highest GDP per capita but here are some rules about that money.
Every Norwegian citizen can check out their neighbor’s taxes (and income) because no man or women is better than the other. Perhaps a brotherhood thing from the Viking era?

The law that maybe every country should implement: November taxes are halved so people have more money for Christmas. But all this wealth comes with a price. For example, entertainment is not free. Every year TV owners have to pay for a license. This payment (2,680 NOK in 2012) is a contribution to the state-owned broadcaster.

Manly disadvantages

ILLUSTRATION: Marte F. Skarstein

It is common knowledge that Norway has a high reputation in gender equality. Woman can decide about their own future and are welcome participants in peace negotiations. Thank you, Norway. But there are also some laws which do not have a very favorable outcome for men.

The Norwegian law states that prostitution is illegal but being a prostitute is not. Just a way of giving men the blame when something goes wrong.
Norway is also the first country to obligate fathers to take 14 weeks parental leave. This rule is implemented to encourage men to have more caregiving qualities and spend some time with their (not always joyful) offspring.

And with this final law our exceptional summary has come to an end. Norwegian people, you can officially call yourself strange.